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Five Duck Dinners

Illustration by Bob AulFace it, New Jersey Devils devotees: the only ducks your ice idols will be carving up during this Stanley Cup final are those served on a freakin' platter. Lucky for you all, duck flesh is ultra-tender, cooked in infinite ways, and offers no resistance, so the Joisy goons won't encounter difficulty beating thosebirds. Following is a file of five fowl feasts that goalie Martin Brodeur and his teammates can enjoy while the Anaheim Mighty Ducks exorcise them on the rink.

•BISTRO LE CRILLON, 2523 Eastbluff Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 640-8181; www.bistrolecrillon.com. French-Canadian Brodeur should feel especially at home in this Provençal-influenced place. Their cassoulet de Toulouse ($28) comes baked with duck confit; the jelly's oily, intense consistency gels the three types of sausages and white French beans into a complex casserole that screams out, "Classy!" •SAVOURY'S, 1287 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 376-9716. The menu changes seasonally, but the Vietnamese duck rolls ($14) are an enchanting constant. Think of spring rolls, with moist duck replacing pork or shrimp, and three separate dunking sauces that produce different divine flavors when they touch the meat. •YEN-CHING, 574 S. Glassell, Orange, (714) 997-3300. A one-day advance order is required for the roast Peking duck ($32.05), but the planning is worth it. The bird is presented whole for purposes of admiration, then returned to the kitchen and diced with green onions and soy sauce. The duck's bones wind up boiled into a soup more wondrous than Yao Ming. •ELLEN'S PINOY GRILLE, 7971 Valley View St., La Palma, (714) 522-8866. The purple eggs next to Ellen's register are not paschal remnants but rather the Filipino delicacy balut ($3). Crack open one end of the egg and suck out the duck embryo inside. It's slimy and replete with tiny feathers, beak, and eyeballs, and a fantastic post-prandial booster. •E-SARN RESTAURANT, 1721 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 999-0563. The duck noodle soup ($4) in this Thai restaurant reminds of the Marx brothers film—they're both instant classics. Prepared in the northeastern Thai tradition, it's a fiery cauldron laden with bamboo shoots, slippery noodles and roasted duck chunks so savory they would make Harpo speak.

 
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